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Editors' Choice Gold 2012: Lodge Cast Iron Camp Dutch Ovens

Feed the troops or go gourmet–these pots do both.

For more than two centuries, campers have been fueling adventures with meals made in these pioneer pots. Our editors have only been using them for a decade or so, but we’re convinced: For car-, horse-, and boat-camping trips, when weight is no object, nothing beats these ovens for fireside meals. Our enthusiastic test crew has used them to make mashed-potato-topped shepherd’s pie, hearty green chili with chicken, blueberry cobbler, and more. The technique is simple: Build a hot bed of coals (you can use charcoal briquettes, too), set the cauldron on top, and cover the flat lid with more coals.

Sit back and enjoy a beverage while you rotate the pot every 10 minutes or so (to ensure even cooking). Lodge offers a slew of sizes (from 1- to 12-quart); just be sure to get one of the “Camp” models that come with legs for elevating the pot over the coals. Each includes a booklet filled with recipes and maintenance tips; never wash your oven with soap, and oil it before storing to prevent rusting. “It’s a family heirloom,” says one tester. “I’ll be handing this down to my kids someday.” $44-$175; 18 lbs. 10 oz. (12 qt.); lodgemfg.com

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